The strategy used by a competitor….

My competitor sold more than I did. Do you know why?

In the initial days of my sales career, I sold antivirus software. For a year, we had product specialization at our company. I specialized on AV. [That was not my choice but my manager’s.] The whole market was mine to take. No account restrictions. I can sell to anyone I like. Only thing is that if I got leads for other packaged software, I had to pass them on to my colleagues [often with a heavy heart :)] who were handling those respective products. The fact remains [for the record] that none passed on any leads to me ever. Good souls. 🙂

When I heard the word “quarantine” last year [first time in a long time], I remembered my good old days. I used to clean the prospects’ systems and quarantine the infected files & stopped the infection from further spreading.

The software worked on two principles according to me [a non-techie]: 1. Heuristic based detection: Nothing but a trial and error method. It uses an algorithm to detect new viruses by differentiating a potential threat vs a known signature. 2. Signature based detection: The software checks the fingerprint and compares it with the signatures in the database.

I did the pre-sales, sales & post-sales. At an insurance company, I agreed to provide them with the monthly virus updates personally, in a 3.5″ floppy disk.

During that time, I found a competitor who was present wherever I went, but they were there much earlier than I did. I was surprised.

Notwithstanding, I went about my work. I met clients, asked if I can help them in any way. I often broke into banks [no, not what you think] & “tried” selling them antivirus software.

One evening, after a meeting at a Bank, I was visiting another client’s place. It was well past 6 pm. I met my manager on the road suddenly. He asked me where was I headed. Told him. He was going home.

I reached the client’s office. That was an ISP [Internet Service Provider] & they were infected like nobody’s business. Did you hear me saying ISP? Yes, you did. I was shown the machine I had to cure. I did. It took such a long time. After everything was over, the IT guy asked me to print the report. What, say that again. Print the report or the log. I did. It ran into many pages in A4 size sheets. I must have used something like 500 sheets. It took me forever. It was 9:30 pm, when I left from there. You know what? That ISP never bought. They were the second largest ISP that time in India. They were the ones who later bought a company [with a Turnover of Rs. 1.3 Crore & a Profit of Rs. 25 Lakhs] for a staggering Rs. 499 crores just before the 2000 dotcom bust. Now you know who it was.

Coming back to my original question,

This competitor, who sold more than I did, used an unethical strategy. They were the developers of their own product whereas we were distributors for another product. The strategy they deployed was this: They used to infect customers’ systems with viruses during the demo & the customers were attacked after few weeks. Once they were attacked, the clients got panicked & called them for help. Obviously, the clients had no choice but to buy their product. That Antivirus Company was nothing but “bad code” like what Root says in ‘Person of Interest’. They produced both Virus & Antivirus.

I cured the infected systems for free, even before the customer asked for a quote.

I sold less. But I was happy that I helped my customers. They remembered me for a long time.

Happy Selling!

#b2bsales #story #kkrocks